Smart locks are not perfect. They're expensive, they're probably easier to hack than pick and there is that rather large question mark about what happens when they crash - because you just know they will. In fact, have a bit of a think about whether you want to give up on your good, old fashioned keys at all. This will help.
Still with us? Good, now that we've ditched those losers that don't believe in the future, let's take a look at the smart locks you can buy and why these are the few that you need to consider.
Undeniably the poster-child of the smart lock world, August is compatible with most North American style cylindrical lock types, and uses a Bluetooth connection with your device to open up as you approach. It also works with a key, if your phone runs out of battery.
The second generation model comes with Apple HomeKit support so now iPhone owners can use Siri to lock and unlock doors with voice commands.It also works with Apple Watch, so you can use your wrist worn device to lock the door, view your activity log, and receive instant notifications.
August has made some pretty big changes on the software front adding a new Access mode offering a list of companies that take care of stuff at home for you while you are away. Companies like Sears, Postmates, Pro.com, Handy, Fetch, Shyp, and more have already partnered with August to provide services that you can schedule appointments from within the app.
The company is also friends with Alexa, meaning you can use your Echo or Dot to monitor the August smart lock using just your voice, and recently announced compatibility with Wink.
The Kwikset Kevo, made by Unikey, is pretty much the gold standard of smart locks. It doesn't necessarily have the best features at the most favourable price point but it's reliable because it's been around long enough for most of the bugs to have been ironed out already.
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One of the big pluses, though, is that you can self-install it which keeps the cost down to a fairly reasonable $220. It also has a rather nifty touch-to-unlock feature, which means that you don't even need to pull your phone out of your pocket to open the door thanks to Bluetooth proximity sensing.
Like all the best smart locks, you can grant eKeys to guests and tradesmen and such, although there is a cost for that service if you want anything more complex than a 24 hour free pass. The fact that it looks fairly normal from the outside is a definite bonus and it comes with a keyhole as well just in case there's any luddites in the family. Throw in some interesting tie-ins with Nest and the addition of using Kevo fob keys instead of your phone and you've got yourself something that looks a lot like a winner.
Yale Keyless Connected
A name you can trust is a very good thing when it comes to something as delicate as home security, and that's very much the play with the Yale Keyless Connected. Not only is it key-free, it's also (if you want it to be) free of smartphones too, which might even make it a little safer still.
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Instead of using the app, you can opt to open this smart lock either with a key fob/card, or with a pin code. You can change your code any time you need and give out different combinations for temporary access too. It also happens to be alarmed which should give any code-crackers a bit of a fright.
One thing: while this exact Yale lock isn't available in the US, there is the comparable Yale Assure, which is available for $199.
The Schlage Sense will get you into your home by tapping in an access code on your iPhone or via the built in touchscreen. It's a deadbolt setup and requires a screwdriver to get it installed and up and running. There's still a keyhole present as a back up and should fit most door sizes. It comes in satin nickel or matte black finishes, helping to make it by far one of the sleekest smart locks on the list.
It's also compatible with Apple HomeKit for Siri support so you can bark commands and pair up with other smart home devices.
It has built-in alarm sensors to detect intruders and can be controlled away from home when someone has forgotten their keys. You will need to own an Apple TV to unlock those remote features, so that's worth keeping in mind before spending your money.
The Bolt is the second generation product from Lockitron. It works wirelessly with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi so you get all the low-power of the proximity opening experience, plus the ability to remote unlock your house for anyone that decides to surprise you at an ill-advised time.
Lockitron is one of the cheapest on the list and it's very easy to add and remove guest access as you need through the app. On top of that, it looks pretty good and it's got one of the best developer communities out there behind it, with out-of-the-box support from both Android and iOS. Lockitron should be easier to install than most smart locks because it's a more like-for-like lock replacement that requires no calibration.
Something of the Rolls Royce of smart locks, the Mul-T-Lock ENTR's most eye-catching feature is that it's biometric. Yep, the future is here; your door will open by fingerprint ID. Do we need to write any more? Well, probably given that that extra little bit of wizardry comes in at a bonus $200. Instead, you could go for the standard PIN pad at $100 but where's the fun in that?
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You get all the mod-cons with ENTR, such as access using a smartphone and a fob you can dole out for temporary access using your app or a PIN code as required. Best of all, it's probably the most solid of all locks with its three-barrel multi-lock technology, as the name suggests. It's too hardcore to work on some of the plastic doors out there, but you're fine with anything made from wood or metal.
Sure, this one ain't cheap once you've upgraded your way to full biometrics but it's invisible from the outside and super-smooth to use; maybe the smartest smart lock of the lot.
A bit different, this one, as it's obviously not designed to go on your front door. But you could sling it onto a gym locker, the garage door, some filing cabinets or a gate to keep your possessions well protected.
This heavy duty Bluetooth smart padlock is available in indoor and outdoor models and can be unlocked from the touch control and a combination of swipes. It also works via the Vault eLocks app (iOS and Android) where you can also access multiple padlocks, share digital keys to give access to others and even schedule guest access for those one off occasions.
It's powered by a CR2450 battery, which means you should get up to two years of protective power.
Like the Master Lock, this Kickstarter success story is a connected padlock that could be a good fit for a side gate or shed, or pretty much anywhere else where you normally use a standard padlock.
Made with zinc, steel, and a boron hardened shackle for an attractive, water resistant and highly durable solution, the Noke uses Bluetooth to sync up with your smartphone, meaning no fumbling about for keys with your cold, wet hands. It's weather-proof and you can even give contacts temporary access to open up whatever it is guarding.
Sesame is a tricky one. It's everything that's right and wrong with smart locks all at the same time. Right: it's seriously easy to install; easier than all the others, says Sesame. Wrong: it offers far too many kinds of funky access methods to make you feel comfortable. Apparently it fits any deadbolt-style lock in the world. Plus you can set it so that a secret knock on your door will automatically let you in.
Bear in mind - this was a very delayed Kickstarter campaign which has some unhappy backers now it has shipped.
Haven is a real stand-out amongst the smart locks and that's exactly what its creators were trying to design. Not satisfied with the level of security that the deadbolt systems offer, it works by providing a barrier across the bottom of the door frame which makes it next to impossible to simply kick in.
There's still most of that remote access and temporary key functionality thanks to the dual Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless operation but the feature that we, obviously, particularly like is that you can use all sorts of fitness tracker and smartwatch wearables to unlock it.
What's more, because it doesn't attach to your current door lock system, it's far more universal. Check the products dimensions and recommended clearance on your floor with what you have at home, and away you go.
Poly-Control Danalock V3
The newest in the line of Poly-Control smart locks, the company has been gradually building out its feature set. While first relying on its looks, the latest iteration has the benefit of being ridiculously easy to install, good looks, interoperability with most smart home platforms (except for HomeKit) and a global reach.
The Danalock V3 is one of the few smart locks that works anywhere in the world and with multiple door types. You can also send out temporary access keys to guests via SMS or email, easy settings for your kids and something called TwistAssist. Basically, if you nudge the little dial it'll unlock and lock on its own.